Folk parables tell us iron is forged in fire; philosophers remind us what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and history books abound with stories of great stoics who achieved greatness through perseverance. There is clearly something about the gym of life – we must face and overcome challenges to build character and skills, before eventually reaching our potential as individuals and professionals.
The idea of effort and overcoming difficulties to achieve mastery is present in virtually every society throughout the centuries. Modern culture continues this theme. One popular business book in recent times, “The Obstacle Is the Way” by Ryan Holiday describes methods for turning hardships into success. Another prominent book, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, explores how career success is less about genius or natural talent and more about passion and perseverance. Every obstacle is a step on the stairs up – the one who can climb the longest wins but only those who enjoy the climb are energised to keep going.
Passion Drives Perseverance
In fact, passion appears to be absolutely necessary to persevere. Luckily, those of us in tech have a massive advantage – it is easy to be passionate about what we do. We are a fortunate bunch who get to participate in some of the most cutting edge innovations that are changing our world. As some will say – technology is the closest thing to magic we have.
Granted, the daily grind to this exciting future can be difficult and stressful. However, just thinking about the perceivably limitless possibilities presented by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, space travel or digital platforms that can empower anyone to start their own side hustle and gain access to ready customers, it’s hard to not be excited or charged up to power through busy days and sometimes nights.
Perseverance Rewards the Passionate
That’s not all – passion is not a one-way street. Even as we give our all to build a better world with tech, tech also inspires and feeds our appetite for learning. For anyone who is keen to hone their craft or enrich their minds, online video and social media offer a wealth of educational materials. Some examples: Struggling to rekindle your north star after a difficult week? Watch videos about amazing innovations your efforts contribute to that will remake the world in the coming decade. Need guidance on challenges at work? Read how some of the most adept tech leaders addressed similar obstacles. Want to gain a hard or soft skill that can help you do your work better? The internet is the best free university humanity ever had.
Transformation and new exciting adventures precede trials and hardships in almost every hero’s journey. Likewise, stress and hard work underpin fulfilling careers. As long as we stay inspired and passionate to triumph over obstacles, we can come out on the other side stronger – skills and mental strength. Per Aspera Ad Astra!
First published in the IT Society Magazine from the Singapore Computer Society